ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News
With the arrival of Easter weekend, comes the Ponoka churches’ walking the cross ceremony.
Roughly 60 people attended the annual event, which has been consistently drawing large crowds for 16 years.
The sizeable wooden cross was carried by attendees to several local landmarks to symbolize the walk that Jesus did with the cross over 2000 years ago. The route was from Ponoka United Church, through town, finally ending at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, where cookies and refreshments were available.
The scriptures read at the landmarks are meant to symbolize different parts and themes of the scriptures. For example, a stop at the cenotaph was to pray for soldiers overseas.
“A lot of the time with soldiers, they have no right thing to do – they have to do what they are told,” said Dan Helm, a member of St. Mary’s Anglican Church.
The event was open to many different groups of Christians who have three things in common –fellowship, scripture and prayer.
The beginnings of the walk had a particular impact for Helm.
“I was going through a personal crisis at the time and I sort of (began the walk) to deal with it,” said Helm.
During its 16 years, the event has consistently drawn 60-70 participants who take turns carrying the cross.
12-year-old Alyssa Klinger has attended many ceremonies already and carried the cross twice on Good Friday.
“My mom encouraged me to go to church and get involved with the events,” said Klinger.
Many, including Klinger, reported feeling something special when they carried the cross.
“Sometimes holding the cross makes you feel like Jesus is with you,” said Klinger.
According to Helm, the walking of the cross dates back to the 4th century in Jerusalem, where Jesus was crucified – a practice that is still done.
The cross is also important for the community, says Helm. As Jesus walked through Jerusalem, it was believed that he was praying for his community and the people in it.
The major theme for the event is the inclusion of everyone. Helm insists that although different types of religions have many different beliefs, they all share the same core beliefs.